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Posted: 9:28 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, 2013
By Erica Bryant
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A North Carolina city is the first in the country to ban cellphone use while driving.An appeals court ruled that Chapel Hill can enforce its new ordinance.Eyewitness News found out if drivers in Charlotte could face the same rules.It is an idea that the Charlotte City Council Safety Committee has discussed before, but the group tabled the idea to watch what happened in Chapel Hill first.Recently, Channel 9 cameras captured video that revealed some people can't keep their hands off their phones."I think it is hard if you are a business owner such as me. I need to talk on the phone a lot," said Paul Livarchuk.Some can't live without it, but others are focused on safety."A lot of people get distracted and it causes accidents," said Livarchuk.A North Carolina appeals court ruling means in Chapel Hill it is coming to a halt.The city can now enforce a ban on using cellphones while driving.The move could re-energize an idea that is already been considered in the Queen City.Charlotte City Councilman Patrick Cannon first raised the idea last year.On Tuesday night he said, "Given the new information I think it warrants us having a discussion to see if there is a desire by City Council to move back in this direction."Councilman Michael Barnes agreed, saying it is clearly a problem and he thinks council would be willing to explore the issue again."I think that is a great thing they are doing, to be honest," said LaDonaa Hedrick.It is something drivers disagree about, that council could weigh in on as early as this summer."I use my phone a lot for work and family. You want to be able to talk to people, so I am definitely for using a cellphone, absolutely," said Livarchuk.Eyewitness News checked and Charlotte's Safety Committee is set to meet again on June 19.It could only be enforced if an officer first stops a vehicle for another reason and violators would be fined $25.
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